Heatherwick: Design’s knowledge broker

Great things can happen once we shift our perception and see things backwardly. Masterpieces can happen when we live, work and act backwardly. Let form shape function, let materials define objects, not the other way around. Flex your brain muscle to take a route away from habitual perception: the end result? In Thomas Heatherwick’s case, design, architecture, engineering breakthroughs.

In the end it all comes down to assigning priority to details and stubbornly committing in cultivating curiosity that in turn is expended for material boundary testing. Thomas Heatherwick applies a ‘form-shapes-function’ logic in every aspect of his work approach- a project defines a team of people working in the Heatherwick studio umbrella. Established in 1994, the Heatherwick studio is a collaborative venture brining people together from a range of disciplines such as architecture, engineering, craft and product design.

Hence, Thomas Heatherwick is indeed a knowledge broker- bridging gaps between ‘subjectively disparate’ skill areas. Often an artist’s greatest mistake is his overwhelming focus on an idea rather than a method. Conversely, Thomas Heatherwick is driven by practicality and an insurmountable curiosity for how to push boundaries of existing work methods. Starting modestly, building small-scale models, he then reaches out for talent to exploit the boundaries and transform the small into the significant, functional and beautiful.

Watch rolling bridge

The Thomas Heatherwick exhibition is still running at the V&A, I highly recommend for all of you to see it for a special shot of inspiration. Today I am sharing with you some of Thomas Heatherwick’s practical beauty- the spun chair at the V&A, the rolling bridge at Paddington Basin, the Paper house newsagent at Sloane Square and the Metal façade at Guy’s hospital in London Bridge. The respective are some of, in my eyes, modest pieces as he also designed the spectacular Olympic cauldron and the Bleigiessen sculpture at the Welcome Trust London, open for visits on the last Friday of every month.

For more info on his projects have a look at projects at the Heatherwick Studio.

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